tv Cross Talk RT December 2, 2013 10:29am-11:01am EST
it was a crazy one steve warning. by his work midnights us home. we were good new carpet installed upstairs i was getting ready to babysit my grandson because my daughter had a point so it's a crazy crazy morning and. i thought it was and she forgot she forgot her key or had something. in. the soldier stand and. i just looked. i looked at the amber and she said you know i want. the door. get here something's wrong with. that i
pull up and there is. a car out there with cover plates on it they said just killed. a full paragraph and that's all you know. the family began hearing details about the circumstances surrounding jessie's death within days of the official announcement they had said that. just. his humvee was struck. the checkpoint and the torch just to be hit just. came out of the top of the turret and they think that he had broken his neck. that was it was a little. now. within an hour of the incident just the arrived at the thirty first
combat support hospital in baghdad where he died on the operating table as doctors tried to save his wife jessie was pronounced dead at two thirty five that morning from what doctors at the scene described as. massive blunt abdominal trauma the result of being thrown from the humvee that evening when the doctor examined the results of the post-mortem cat scan he noticed the presence of a bullet in jesse's back but did not fill out the paperwork to correct the death certificate later in a sworn statement he claimed that jessie did in fact die as a result of a gunshot wound or g s w the final autopsy was performed on jessie's body at dover air force base during the autopsy the doctor discovered that jessie had not died from a trauma but from a penetrating gunshot wound to the back the issued a new certificate of death the media only although jessi's officers in iraq were alerted to the change in status the family continued to believe that their son was killed in a traffic accident. on the day of the funeral jessie's family and friends were
joined by thousands of canton residents who pay their respects for the funeral it was amazing i mean i've never. been to a funeral where even i literally felt the love from the people around the community helped raise in the community help bury him within hours of learning that jessie died from a bullet lodged in his back army officers in iraq knew that jessie was killed by either us or polish forces who opened fire when the driver of the dump truck failed to slow down or heed warnings to stop as gunfire rang out across the traffic circle the driver was shot and killed sending his truck careening into jesse's humvee. the search conducted on the dump truck revealed that the driver had no weapons thus officers inferred that the fatal gunshots must have come from us and polish forces firing from positions behind jesse army officers launched an immediate investigation into the friendly fire incident including
a ballistics analysis by the u.s. army criminal investigative laboratory within weeks the laboratory confirmed that the bullets extracted from jesse's back contain sufficient. characteristics for comparison purposes and advised of the weapons used by u.s. and polish forces be collected. the final report disclosed that the shots likely came from the sector manned by polish forces the report concluded however that polish forces could not be held accountable for just because the army was concerned about international repercussions in other words because the polish were the third largest contingent in the coalition of the willing the army was hesitant to lay blame and anger their allies as a result. i bear just to. the end. i got a copy of the casualty. in the cause of penetrating.
that's first i heard that jesse was shot. by friendly fire. i mean really start calling you know the army was shot he said shot him calling us commanders and. they did you know just. confirm anything. like in february i get the autopsy. and it describes all jesse eisinger. and under circumstances such as friendly fire that's first we heard currently fire like nine months after i ask the house was just his good soldier to people like. how could they make the mistake of not telling us he was shot not no one is the war at all until i read everything over
and seen that the weapons were never collected and i knew they had to get it properly. in hopes of satisfying peggy's questions investigators held a powerpoint briefing for the family the presentation reiterated the army's position that the shots most likely came from the polar sector but that it remained inconclusive they did not mention that a ballistics test would have conclusively identified which weapon fired the fatal bullet during the same presentation the officers noted that the family had been informed that friendly fire was involved within days of the incident immediately peggy challenge the officers that's wrong. and they could not prove they could out show anywhere in the notes we want to the second investigation prove that to me show me the casualty assistance officer document every thing everything has to be documented show me we were officially told me.
that this was friendly fire they couldn't show it because it never happened. never . what i've been trying for a year to find out if indeed my son is shot if they if anybody from the army told me he was shot nobody nobody frustrated that the army seemed to be of aiding the truth he turned to the press. for more than a year and a half the mother of a fallen soldier has been trying to learn the truth about her son's death jessie's mom doesn't know exactly what to believe the family was told he died from internal injuries after a dump truck crashed into his humvee months later she saw all this stuff to get their training gunshot to the back what's more it was friendly fire. in response to the press coverage of peggy's story the secretary of the army directed the inspector general to open a new investigation into jesse's case in the midst of the new investigation one
officer stated that he felt the case had been swept under the rug and other officers said he thought investigative officers were walking on eggshells because they felt they couldn't say anything bad about the poles. when the new investigators sought to retrieve the bullets for ballistics testing they made an unnerving discovery that they threw away the. they would treat the bullet from. the bullet he found the bullet would get three army i don't think they do anything out without a novel of regulations they probably can order toilet do and. they have a soldier that hopes. i guess the. questions they give a medal and say was a hero be good enough for which part of the lie am i supposed to believe. for every body there is a next of kin and for every next of kin a telegram from the adjutant general to mrs rebecca. the secretary of the army has
asked me to express his deep regret that your husband. died in vietnam on fourteen november one thousand nine hundred sixty five. history families have waited anxiously for word about the health and well being of their loved ones on the front lines during world war one the war department introduced a formal policy for informing families when a loved one was lost in battle to my knowledge they received a telegram saying the secretary of war is quite sorry that your loved one has been killed in action just what happened was a soldier in that unit would write the family and say johnny really got shot by. in which case then the family would start asking questions demand an investigation or or an official explanation. the famous incident carol
burnett made to tell colvin movie i think that's what happened there if i recall correctly somebody in the unit communicated with the family and they subsequently went question. as to what to what happened. and similar instances. where the families did become involved and did ask questions. probably brought this change of policy in the movie friendly fire starring carol burnett appeared on a.b.c. in the fall of one thousand nine hundred seventy nine based on the struggles of iowa farmers peg and gene mall in the film depicts their fight to obtain information about their son's tragic death in a foxhole in vietnam as a result of shrapnel from a u.s. artillery barrage. for outstanding drama friendly fire raise public awareness. about the lack of information provided the families of the fallen and likely was the driving force behind the subsequent changes in policy instituted by the
department of defense within five years of the film's release the pentagon established casualty reporting regulations that specifically addressed friendly fire for the first time regulations dictated that the army inform families of the inflicting force involved and stipulated that reports should include circumstantial evidence as long as it's made clear where facts and supposition begins the army was now mandated to notify families of situations where friendly fire was even suspected. the integrity of this new policy would be tested in gulf war one. wealthy british style signed. by.
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gets where the team. is getting was a senior in his military trio. he knew that if he didn't smother that grenade with his body more of just comrades would die he gave his own life to save us friends. right from the scene. first straight shooters and i were being featured. on our reporter's twitter. and instagram. to be in the know moments on.
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the time the vietnam war ended. the image of the united states military in american society was that the military was rather bumbling incompetent ineffective institution and the officer corps in the couple of decades following the vietnam war was absolutely committed to. changing that image and restoring the reputation of the american military in the eyes of the american people get really stuck in you know like who cares about the war.
to a great degree that effort achieved success by the time of operation desert storm in early one thousand nine hundred many commentators had expected the war against iraq to be a long drawn out bloody some people said another vietnam this was a great triumph in the eyes of the officer corps a triumph not simply that. kuwait had been liberated a great triumph in the reputation carried over from vietnam days was seemingly buried once and for all. the one blemish on operation desert storm. was that. a substantial proportion of the small number of u.s. casualties suffered occurred as a consequence of friendly fire that's the fundamental lesson of vietnam for much of the military at the time we're talking about and so they were determined to
maintain public support to show a new face to show success to show the recall the talk about smart the precipitation and training and professionalization of their force and they were determined to control the facts that fed that story line by any military. gulf war one was a stunning victory by u.s. and coalition forces in the midst of such overwhelming success however reporters at the pentagon began to hear rumors about friendly fire washington post pentagon correspondent barton gellman was the first journalist to thoroughly cover rumors about friendly fire so it took about six months after the war for us to find enough people find enough data pieced together enough information from public records and the spaces inside them that we could do the story and the story was stunning frankly the army and marines agreed and the army upheld it to the letter that they
would tell no family. about a friendly fire casualty and until they could tell all of them in a synchronized matter that was intended to set up a press conference the next day so it was decreed that always twelve five pm would be the time that thirty five casualty officers would show up on the doorsteps of thirty five next of kin and tell them that their loved ones had been killed by american forces and no one was to be told before that even if there was categorical evidence months before as there were as there was in many cases the army held a formal press conference on aug twelfth at five pm announcing that thirty five of the one hundred forty eight american servicemen and women who died on the battlefield in the gulf war were killed and it vertically by their comrades for many families like the family of captain lance fielder the army's public relations strategy left them disconcerted douglas fielder everyone called him lance he was a combat engineer. the basic facts are that his truck broke down he was waiting for
repair another unit from across a boundary which was a little bit lost on them and stumbled across and thought that he and his guys were acquiesce and kill them a lieutenant colonel named john daley understood at the scene as soon as he got out of his bradley fighting vehicle that he had ordered his gunner to open fire and that the casualties were records he'd only knew was friendly fire he knew he did it . and yet the casualty officers went back and they reported to the family that their head son had died in an encounter with a republican guard it was just made up out of whole cloth. it was only when they got back to saudi arabia that the soldiers had access to phones and field as best friends of the unit called the family and told them what really happened to. the two soldiers the list of guys who called fielder's family told their
unit commander. low ranking officer and they wouldn't say who it was they were afraid of getting in trouble as a lieutenant recounted. what they told the family and he told them to shut up that if they said anything more they'd be court martialled. and that this was way above their pay grade and they'd better not do it again despite the family's six month campaign for information about the circumstances surrounding lance's death the army refused to confirm whether fielder had been killed by friendly fire until the joint notifications on aug twelfth at five pm the army had a clear directive explicit regulation six hundred thing that said that the families shall be notified promptly in any case and which has determined that the soldier died in friendly fire and the three star general who was in charge of personnel for the army unit to our interview with me said that he is obliged to follow regulations but he's also applies to deviate from them when he feels he has
a good reason which is the usual understanding of regulations. to keep flat out admitted that he had broken the rules. within six months of the end of combat operations the army had clear evidence that friendly fire was involved in every one of the thirty five incidents and yet they failed to follow explicitly defined army regulations to notify families when defense secretary dick cheney appeared before us. senate panel he acknowledged that the families had to wait months for information about the deaths of their loved ones but defended the delays stating that it takes a few months to get a full and complete accounting is just a normal natural part of the process. and even within the officer corps people began to say how could this be this is unacceptable. and senior members of the officer corps. embarked upon a major project. the declared purpose of which was to ensure that
in future conflicts there would be no fratricide as it was as it was called. and i think that. in essence in declaring friendly fire casualties to be unacceptable despite the fact that they have been commonplace throughout all of military history. the military itself therefore set the bar that much higher in terms of what the public would expect. from that point forward due to issues in the handling of friendly fire cases during the gulf war the army completely revised regulations regarding the casualty reporting a friendly fire regulations now require that families be informed and accurate and timely manner when friendly fire is suspected further the army must notify families within days of an investigation into a suspected friendly fire incident i think the phenomenon of friendly fire probably
extends back to the invention of gunpowder war is probably the most complex and difficult to pass. such world war two particularly we've invented a lot of technological means to assist us in overcoming that fog of war. but even so it doesn't it's still haven't gotten to honor percent even the best command given the best soldier. going to make mistakes the deadliest occurrence in u.s. military history is believed to be an incident during operation cobra in world war two when allied bombing raids missed enemy targets and killed over five hundred soldiers in a single day. when army regulation shifted and required that families be informed of friendly fire casualties the attitude toward friendly fire incidents also
transformed in the new era of public disclosure friendly fire incidents were cast as criminal and accompanied by a campaign to demonize the responsible parties or even court martial during gulf war one an incident involving nineteen year u.s. army veteran lieutenant colonel ralph alles became the first high profile case resulting from the change in friendly fire policy. on the night of february sixteenth one thousand nine hundred ninety one hails took command of his apache helicopter to check on two iraqi vehicles believed to be a mile north of the american line. the flying conditions that night were less than optimal it was dark and there was a sandstorm growing. concerned about his true position on the battlefield males ask for clarification. why do i want to bet that they could go i believe that i think that the arab red line. roger could everybody be right so they're going to take him out although hills identified what he believed were iraqi vehicles he became
concerned when his apaches fire control computer contradicted the grid coordinates provided by the troops on the ground relying on his battlefield instincts and commanding officers directions hales prepared to fire on the vehicles. but they it's hard to pull the trigger back me up a little bit here tell me i'll fire any you're up seven zero thirty eight hundred meters. before firing hale's attempted to lock on the vehicle but since they were friendly vehicles that failed to engage. the plan. to. help us up and go. here it tough one because you could say that it was like a second one. that completely destroyed the record what was.
the psychological. factor i didn't like it because it's still a fact but it became a good way credit on the back which still. we did we get the part of. me when i did anything that around the vehicle there are no hard and i've got you know we're going to walk away from the current. roger you that guy and. i got a better watching on the end of the. maybe it might have been. roger i did that i'm really afraid of that. expires fire fire. right there i think roy but i don't want to have
a. look at that i want. to see the park they go. for comfort. kill a bunch of people you don't know their friends are really us people. that night to us army soldiers were killed and six wounded today afterwards males was relieved of duty within a week reports of the event appeared in the press including unidentified sources within the pentagon to describe hales as a cowboy and as someone who was looking for a fight and several months later hills defended himself noting that the army abandoned me they sold me to the press to make themselves look good.
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